In anticipation of our April webcast on Anxiety and Depression in Adopted Children, ALP Clinical Director Judy Stigger shared some helpful definitions and advice for parents, especially parents of adopted teens:
Depression may be expressed in 'tweens and teens as ongoing sadness or lethargy or, surprisingly, as intense anger or rage. For example, my granddaughter came home from school one day saying, “I lost another friend because I blew up over nothing. I don’t know what is wrong with me!”
Anxiety may show itself as constant fretting about grades or friends or ongoing uncertainty about almost anything. Some kids soldier through it. But just as often we see kids disengaging from school work, cutting or experimenting with weed or alcohol as they strive to feel better.
Because we are talking about teenagers and because ADHD or frustration at school caused by a learning disability or other mental health challenge can share symptoms with depression and anxiety, figuring out what your child is struggling with and how to help is confusing to many families.
What it is not:
Depression and anxiety are not character flaws. “Get over it” is not helpful advice. Eating well and getting sufficient exercise, sunshine and sleep can sometimes help to diminish symptoms. But getting your child to understand and comply without straining your relationship may be easier said than done...especially with teens.
Materials on www.ErikasLighthouse.org may also be worth looking at, as is this fact sheet put out by the Children's Bureau.
Join us for Anxiety and Depression in Adopted Children on April 7, 2016 at 8 PM Central. Our experts for the evening will be Peggy Kubert, LCSW, from Erika’s Lighthouse, and Vasco Lopes, PsyD, a psychologist at the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders. Register here.